The History of the Germans in Buffalo and Erie County, N.Y. - Part I, pages 167 - 171


Chiefly in compliance with the wishes of the younger members the change of directorship was decided upon, not without protest, however, on the part of the older members; with the idea in view that a younger talent would be better able to place the standard of the "Saengerbund" on the same height with the other large local singing societies, Joseph Cintura, at that time director of the "Germania Singing Society" in East Saginaw, was chosen as the successor of Mr. Federlein; followed as early as the Spring of 1888 by Johannes Gelbke as director. Under his leadership the "Saengerbund", assisted by the "Liedertafel" and "Orpheus", arranged a grand concert in Music Hall on June 7th, 1889, for the benefit of the flood sufferers of the Connemaugh Valley, Pennsylvania, which concert netted the sum of $1500.

In the Summer of 1891 Mr. Gelbke was succeeded by Carl Samans, a very capable director, who unfortunately soon after accepted a very flattering call to take charge of the "Philadelphia Jung Maenner Chor". After the society had undergone very disagreeable experiences with two other directors they were fortunate in securing in the Fall of 1893 Henry Jacobsen, a very able and talented young musician, who through his active work in the interest of the society and praiseworth tact won the sincere regard of both the active and passive members.

Exactly twenty years after the performance of Weber's Opera "Die Freischuetz" the "Saengerbund" gave a reproduction of this beautiful opera on April 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1896, under the direction of Mr. Jacobsen, in a very successful manner, especially as regards the work of the chorus. Since then the society has limited itself to the usual number of season concerts, which have shown that it possesses excellently trained voices, and whose work has always been deserving of the highest approval of the audience.

The "Saengerbund" has taken part with honor in the following Sangerfests: Cleveland, 1859; New York, 1862; Columbus, 1865; Philadelphia, 1867; Chicago, 1868; New York, 1871; Waterloo, Ont,. 1874; Berlin, Ont., 1875; Cincinnati, 1879; Detroit, 1880; Chicago, 1881; Milwaukee, 1886; Hamilton, Ont., 1890; Cincinnati, 1899.

Caption under picture at center reads The Streamer Buffalo - 1838.


In addition to visiting the above, excursions were arranged from time to time, and the following cities visited: Rochester, Erie, Titusville, Detroit, Hamilton, Toronto, Pittsburg, New York, and Philadelphia; from the last two places side trips were made to Coney Island and Atlantic City.

The following have served as presidents of the "Saengerbund"; C. Wilhelm Braun, Aug. Holzhausen, Otto Schugens, Heinrich Nauert, Ernst Besser, Gustav Tischendorff, Jacob Feine, Ludwig Schneider, Herman Ohlmer, B.F. Gentsch, Aug. Fuchs, Louis Allgewaehr, Louis A. Buehl, Erst Besser, Richard Flach, Herman Bernhardt, Franz Knobloch, Ottomar Reinecke, Matthias Rohr, Friedrich Wedell, Robert Griesser, Balthasar Speidel, Wm. Miller and August Feine. In the Fall of 1885 the ladies of the society formed the "Ladies Section of the Buffalo Seangerbund", and as such take a most active interest in the welfare of the society. That a warm social spirit has always existed among the members of the "Saengerbund" is sufficiently proven by their always well attended entertainments.

Harugari Maennerchor

The third oldest of the local German Singing Societies is the "Harugari Maennerchor." The Society was founded on September 19, 1869 by members of the "Harugari Order", among whom were the following: Fritz Binder, Eberhard Lotz, Geo. Neu, Julius Gaessler, Florian Feyl and Andrew Wilhelm. Frederick Federlein was chosen director, and held this office until April, 1892. In 1870 the society arranged a concert for the fellow members of their Order, which was followed by a hop.

The beautiful flag presented to the Society by the ladies of the D.O.H. was ceremoniously dedicated at a garden festival, held in July, 1872. A memorable occurence in the history of the "Harugari Maennerchor" was the visit of the "Harugari Liederkranz" of New York in the summer of 1881, which was celebrated by a concert on July 31st, and an excursion to Niagara Falls on August 1st. The bond of friendship which was formed between the two Societies, exists to the present day. In remembrance of this visit, the Harugari Liederkranz presented a group picture of its members, to the Buffalo Society. In May, 1884, the "Harugari Maennerchor", paid a return visit to the New York Society.

The Society took a very active part in the Sängerfest of the "North American Sängerbund," in Buffalo.

The success of the first Harugari Sängerfest, held in Buffalo in 1887, was due in great measure, to the excellent arrangements of the "Harugari Männerchor", and its protegee, the "Harugari Frohsinn".[1]

[1] Translator's Note: The original term "Harugari" refered to the priests of the ancient Germanic tribes. "Maennerchor" means Men's Choir.
"Frohsinn" means happiness or cheerfulness. I like to translate the name "Harugari Frohsinn" as "those happy-go-lucky pagan priests of the ancient Germanic World". Return to text


The second general "Harugari Sängerfest," held in New York in July, 1889, was attended by many members. As a consequence of the repealing of the limiting clause, which permitted only members of the Order to become passive members, the Society gained many members.

At the third Harugari Sängerfest in July, 1891, at Albany, N.Y., the Society was well represented.

On October 21, 1892, the "Harugari Maennerchor" celebrated the 25th Anniversary of its founding with a banquet, which was preceded by speech making and songs. After the directorship of F. Kowalski, lasting a little more than a year, Aug. H. Schoenewolf became director of the society. His successor upon his death, which occured all too soon, was Wm. Wagner.

The presidents of the "Harugari Männerchor" were: Julius Nestmann, until 1870; Franz Sipp, until 1872; George New, until 1880; Louis Knell, until 1881; George Baer, until 1882; George Neu, until 1884; Robert Griesser, until 1885; Fritz Binder, until 1887; L. Lieber, until 1888; R. Griesser, until 1889; Gottlieb Hagman, until 1890; John Siebold, until 1891; Eberhardt Lotz, until 1892; August Feine, until 1893; Rudolf Schmitt, until 1894; Philip J. Fischer, until 1895; George Mille, until 1896; Martin Heilbronn, until 1897.

The Buffalo Orpheus

With an excellently trained chorus, stronger than that of any of the other local singing societies, and a director who is considered one of the best musicians belonging to the Bund, the "Buffalo Orpheus" by its musical capabilities has secured a place among the first, oldest and largest of the German singing societies. The "Orpheus" is an offspring of the "Liedertafel", the oldest singing society in Buffalo. The participation of the "Liedertafel" in the Saengerfest of the North American Seangerbund in 1868 led to a difference of opinion betwenn the older and younger members of the society, which resulted in a split. Nineteen members of the "Liedertafel"; Andreas Brunn, O.E. Ebenau, Max Faul, Karl Krull, Geo. B. Lautz, F.C.M. Lautz, Chas. Ruckdeschel, Gus. Schaefer, Hermann Voight, G.F. Deck, H. Ellenberger, A.B. Felgenmacher, Wm. Kohl, J. Adam Lautz, Chas. Lautz, Chas. Strohmann, Otto Ulbrich, Chas. Windrath

Caption under picture at center reads The Old Cleveland 1838.


and Otto Weiskotten, seceded from the society, and founded, with Celestin Baecher, L. Loepere, Leo Ritt, Geo. Wennesheimer, J.L. Jacobs, Wm. Niederpruem, M.J. Stark, and Leo Breitweiser in Baecher's Hall on Oct. 17, 1869, a new singing society, which was given the name of "Orpheus", in honor of the "Boston Orpheus", who at the Saengerfest held here in 1860 had achieved a great success with the pretty song, "Warum bist du so ferne," and had won general regard by their amiability.

Jos. L. Haberstro, who was elected president, soon resigned his office, and was succeeded by Andreas Brunn, the chief secessionist and real father of the society. The first director of the "Orpheus" was the piano teacher Ernst Schulz. Under his leadership the young society celebrated its first birthday on November 22nd in Kremlin Hall with a concert and dance. Carl Adam, who had relinquished his position as director of the "Liedertafel", which he had held with honor for many years, was chosen as director of the society in January, 1870, and filled this office uninterruptedly from 1870 to 1892.

On July 21, 1870, the "Orpheus" took part in the great Musical Festival, held in the "Horticultural Gardens" in Toronto, by the rendering of several songs, among others: "Schoen Rothtraut," "Gebet vor der Schlacht," "Des Mueller's Lust," and "Des Ritter's Abschied." The society returned from Toronto covered with glory and honor. At the first concert of the following Winter season an artistically embroidered flag was presented to the society by the ladies. Miss Grau recited a dedication poem, composed by Wm. Niederpruen, and Miss Ziegele presented the flag to the president, Wm. Lautz. At the second season concert, on February 6, 1871, Wm. Lautz gave the society a beautiful bust, representing the director Carl Adam.

On May 4th of the same year the society gave a performance of Gluck's four-act opera "Orpheus" in St. James Hall with well earned success. Miss Mathilde Toedt, of New York, sang the part of "Orpheus".

In the grand street parade and brilliant festival, arranged by the Germans of Buffalo, on May 26th, in celebration of the treaty of peace so glorious for the Germans after the Franco-German war, the living pictures of the "Orpheus" on a wagon, drawn by six horses, excited general admiration.

At the Saengerfest held in New York, from June 26 to 30, 1871, the "Orpheus" participated in the prize singing. The prize song was "Waldeszauber", by Reiter. Although the society won no prize its singing was highly commended.

A very deplorable occurence for the society took place on July 26th. The "Orpheus" had planned an excursion to Oakfield, on Grand Island.


Before the last picknickers had broken up, a crowd of American roughs, numbering from 20 to 30, landed, and attacked the members of the committee, who were just engaged in clearing away the stands, a general fight ensued, during which clubs were used on both sides. Shots were fired, and Chas. Rodenbach was dangerously wounded by a shot fired by the 23 year old rough Patrick Gorman. For a long time the wounded man hovered between life and death, but finally recovered completely, and for many years was first tenor of the society.

The formation of a ladies' chorus was the principal event of an Winter season of 1871-73.

On the occasion of the third anniversary celebration of the "Orpheus" the active members were surprised by the presentation of the American banner by the passives.

On July 23, 1873, the "Orpheus" together with the "Liedertafel" and the "Saengerbund", took part in the dedication of the Philharmonic Hall in Erie, Pa. The society celebrated its fourth anniversary with a large commers on October 26, 1873, in St. James Hall. In 1872, 1873 and 1874 the "Orpheus" visited Toronto, where it took part in concerts. In 1875 the society attended a Saengerfest held in Berlin, Can. In 1876 the society moved into its new home in Riegelmann's Hall, later Metropolitan Hall, at 553 Main Street. In 1877, 1878 and 1879 the society made trips to Rochester. In 1878 the New York "Arion" visited the "Orpheus". The existing friendship between the two societies dates from this time, and has many times since been further cemented by tokens of mutual esteem. In 1880 the "Orpheus" gave a concert in Cleveland, and in 1881 one in Detroit. The society returned to Buffalo from the Saengerfest held in Philadelphia in the beginning of July, 1882, with a prize.

In December, 1882, after Signor Nuno had directed the society for several months, Johannes Gelbke, who had arrived only recently from Leipzig, took charge of the society. In February of the same year the "Orpheus" gave a concert in the Opera House in Dunkirk. Soon after, the "Orpheus", assisted by its strong and excellent ladies chorus,

Caption unde picture at center reads The Famous Milwaukee - 1838.

Return to Introduction

Return to Indexes

Go on to Pages 172 - 176

Revised April 10, 2005
Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks